JoAnn DePolo shares how to make it as an artist and more

On Oct. 15, the Westlake-Westshore Arts Council presented JoAnn DePolo, of JoAnn DePolo Studios and Gallery in North Olmsted, at Porter Library.

At a museum, visitors walk around an exhibit to see the progression of an artist’s work. At Porter Library, visitors only had to sit as DePolo revealed her journey. She did a wonderful presentation about beginning to draw at a young age, then began again while raising four boys and has been painting ever since.

When the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was opening in Cleveland in 1995, DePolo rode the wave of the city’s excitement and began painting famous rock 'n' roll stars like John Lennon and Yoko Ono onto rocks. She sold 140 painted rocks that summer.

Often new artists wear many hats as they begin their career; DePolo was no exception. She knew how to take advantage of a self-promotion opportunity whenever possible. When taking her sons to see Jim Thome at Tower City, DePolo brought a rock to present to Peter Max who was appearing at a gallery in the building. Subsequently, DePolo gave Max one of her paintings as a gift. His interest and encouragement was her incentive to continue in the arts.

Through the years, DePolo broadened her horizons, never stopped learning and continued to grow as an artist. She used her creativity to recycle computer parts to make items like clocks and business card holders. In 1998, DePolo began teaching and sharing her talents. She became involved in the community and hosted painting projects where attendees each painted part of a large mural. She also hosted an art walk and art events which included musicians.

DePolo has been at her North Olmsted studio since 2012 and continues to host art shows with live music. Her twin sons, Jared and Andrew are successful composers. DePolo has painted while listening to their songs for the first time, making art a family affair. Today, DePolo’s art is on utility boxes in Playhouse Square as well as two murals in Cleveland’s City Hall.

DePolo’s presentation wasn’t just about her road to becoming an artist. DePolo shared advice as she does in her book, "Making It As An Artist," and answered questions.

JoAnn DePolo is not only a gifted artist, teacher and author; she connects with people. She has a winning attitude which draws people to her as well as her work. This was obvious in the amount of attendees and her generous responses to various questions. One of DePolo’s best pieces of advice, “The more people know about you, the more they’ll like your art.” JoAnn DePolo has already proven that and continues to do so.

For more information about the Westlake-Westshore Arts Council visit or call 440-250-5565. 

Jeanine Surace

Jeanine is a member of the Westlake-Westshore Arts Council.

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Volume 11, Issue 21, Posted 9:26 AM, 11.05.2019